No Such Thing as Too Much Pumpkin…or Goat Cheese

Even though Thanksgiving feels like it was ages ago by this point, I”m still in the process of using up all the leftovers. Evidently I”m not alone; my ES sistas have been working through the same issue by creating their delicious Pumpkin Stuffed Shells and Turkey Parmesan recipes.

Anyway, I ended up with a lot of leftover canned pumpkin, which was great for me because I happen to loooove pumpkin in both sweet and savory dishes. Still riding my fried sage leaves craze, I dreamed up this savory and secretly quite healthy pasta dish, which combines spiced, roasted cauliflower, chicken breast chunks, and gobetti pasta as a base. That combo is then smothered in a creamy goat cheese pumpkin sauce, then topped with paprika, roasted pumpkin seeds, fried sage leaves, and yet more goat cheese. This pasta was a good way to use up leftover pumpkin, but stands on its own; you don”t need leftovers as an excuse to whip this up for dinner!

Roasted Cauliflower-Pumpkin Pasta with Goat Cheese, Pepitas, and Sage

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EPIC Thanksgiving: Bacon-Wrapped Meatloaf-Stuffed Turkey

I wanted the title of this post to be Bacon-Wrapped Smoked Turkey Stuffed with Goat Cheese, Chicken Breast and Bacon-Wrapped Lamb Meatloaf..but it’s kind of a mouthful (pun intended…always).

I’m trying to think of how to introduce this meat monstrosity into the world.  I thought about saying “Close your eyes and imagine a moist lamb meatloaf surrounded by bacon, chicken and goat cheese stuffed inside a perfectly cooked turkey.”  But then I realized this is the Internet and people cannot close their eyes..because that would hinder the whole reading process.  Epic meat makes me dumb.

So, what I really want to say is: block off a weekend for this.  You need to fully wrap your head around it.  I gotta apologize for how lengthy this recipe is, but I promise it is worth it.  Need proof?

Turkey.

Check.

Cheese.

Check.

Chicken.

Check.

Bacon.

Check and check.

Meatloaf.

Check..

Good God, Almighty..what have we done?

Sorry, I’m not really religious.  Just overwhelmed.

OK.  Let’s do this EPIC thang.

Meat Monstrosity

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Cooking with Love: Carla Hall's Rustic Mushroom Tart

Hey, guess what? I got an opportunity to review Carla Hall”s brand new cookbook, Cooking with Love: Comfort Food that Hugs You.  I was obviously very excited.  Thanks, ES!

I have been a fan of Carla Hall since her first season on Top Chef, Season 5.  When she came back for All-Stars, I also enjoyed rooting her on.  She has a southern style of cooking that focuses on comfort food and fine dining spins on classics.  Plus, she has a super perky and positive personality, but not in an annoying sort of way.  Like in a contagiously sunny kind of way.

This book has so many great recipes that I”ve bookmarked to try, like goat cheese grits and buffalo wing burgers (yum!)  It also has some little anecdotes and tips from Carla.  Carla was a caterer before she made it big and has some great tips about serving large groups, if you are into that kind of thing.  If I had to give a constructive criticism about the book, it would be that I would like a picture for every recipe.  That”s probably not doable to have so many photographs, but that”s what I like.  Although the pictures that are already in the book are quite stunning.

All in all, I”d say everyone should definitely have this cookbook on their shelves.  It”s pretty rockin”.

So, I decided to make the mushroom nbso tart recipe and it was pretty boss.  Super easy and oh so tasty.  I didn”t use a paddle attachment on a food processor , so my dough was a little more crumbly than hers appears.  It was still really good, though.

You should make this and pop over to Amazon to preorder her book, which comes out November 6th.

Rustic Mushroom Tart from Cooking with Love

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This Week at the Farmers Market: Summer Squash Pizza

If you’ve ever tried growing your own summer squash then you understand how quickly they can multiply and become overwhelming. Even inventive cooks can grow weary of its abundance before the dog days of August, and they are now all over the farmers markets. But with mild flesh and edible skin, yellow squash is easy to use in a variety of ways: cooked or raw, grilled, steamed, sauteed or baked. When picking out your squash at the market avoid spongy, flabby or overgrown ones and choose ones with taut skin, about 8 inches long or less.

This is a perfect way to enjoy veggie “pizza” without a ton of calories. You can make this light, tasty meal in the toaster oven on hot days when you don’t want the added heat in the kitchen. You can also eat it cool, rolled up as a wrap.

Summer Squash Pesto Pizza Roll-Ups

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This Week at the Farmers Market: June Strawberry Salad

I spent Father’s Day weekend with dad at my parent’s country house near the Adirondacks, mowing, weeding, trimming overly eager tree branches, sweeping out the cobwebs, vacuuming the pool, and generally sprucing the place up in anticipation of summer. After our hard work we treated ourselves to a some fresh produce from the neighboring farms… not sure if you’ve heard but strawberry season is in full swing and THANK GOD, because strawberries are one of those fruits, like melons and blueberries (coming soon!!), that are basically bland and tough in the off-season. But holy mother, in June there’s nothing better.

Of course, juicy strawberries are superb on their own, topping off ice cream, boiled down for homemade jam, or baked into a pie. This weekend it was effing hot and I didn’t feel like turning on the oven, plus I wanted to try something a bit more savory to go with our dinner of grilled salmon. The farm stand down the road also sells local cheeses, meats and greens, so we picked up a bag of big, leafy spinach, and a small wheel of goat cheese, wonderfully named “Purple Haze,” and this salad was born.

June Strawberry Salad with Goat Cheese, Fresh Spinach, and Lemon Vinaigrette

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The Endless Road Trip — San Diego’s Top 10 Eats 1. Pickle Tater Tots

I’m probably not in the majority when I say I don’t love tater tots. I mean, I don’t dislike them; they are fried potatoes after all. On their own I just find them greasy and kind of boring. They never hold salt the way I want them to and are more often than not soggy; I’d prefer fries or home fries any day.

Imagine my surprise when BS and I sat down at R Gang Eatery in San Diego, the laid-back base of Top Chef’s Rich Sweeney, and were offered a slew of stuffed tater tots. After some debate (do we want foie at 10am?) we ordered the craziest ones (clearly) — tater tots filled with pickles and cheese. They were the first thing to come out of the kitchen, and let’s be honest, we both stared at them for a minute before touching them. Were we really going to eat pickles and cheese as breakfast?

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